Insurance: it pays to adjust the value of your household effects every year[Kristel Kobi | 10.08.2023 :]
The rapid rise in prices of goods is also increasingly leading to cases of home insurance where the actual value of household effects differs drastically from the sum insured, leading to unexpected expenses. In the event of a theft or a fire, it can come as a nasty surprise that replacing even the oldest and most worn-out household appliances or your well-kept wardrobe of decades ago with new items can be very costly.
According to Kristel Kobi, Head of Property Damage at Seesam, a homeowner's estimate of the value of their household effects is often from many years ago, which may no longer be up to date due to recent swift inflation.
When entering into an insurance contract, a minimum recommended sum insured per square metre is offered. Seesam’s expert points out that it is €320 per square metre for a residential apartment and €224 per square metre for a detached house. However, each homeowner should critically assess, based on their household effects, whether €33,600 for a 150 m2 house or €17,000 for a 54 m2 apartment is enough to maintain their quality of life after an unexpected event. “It is worth thinking through your risks and needs calmly before signing a contract,” the insurer advises.
Kobi points out that when assessing the replacement value of household effects, people often think that these are already second-hand, but when it comes to replacing beds, mattresses, sofas or carpets, for example, people want to buy them from a shop and then it is necessary to consider the pricing of new items. “If you think about the worst-case scenario, a fire where soot and extinguishing water damage the property in addition to the fire itself, the extent of the property destroyed can be very large. From bed linen and towels to seasonal clothes and footwear, you will need everything replaced immediately. Often, only appliances and furniture are seen as household effects, but these also include light lamps, carpets, curtains and more,” explains Kobi.
Food for thought for the homeowner: a list of household effects with the cost of restoration
Each homeowner should make a document in which they write down all the items they have in each room and their approximate price. In addition to furniture and appliances, you will also need to include lamps, curtains, carpets, clothes, pots, pans and crockery. When estimating amounts, it is worth thinking not about the used condition of the item, but how much it would cost to replace it – if a new one is wanted, the price should be based on what the item would cost in the shop today.
Seesam’s specialist recommends reviewing and recalculating the sum insured each time the contract is renewed. When deciding on the sum, it is important to take into account your means and needs: if you have high expectations of maintaining your standard of living, it is worth making sure that you have the capacity to restore your property quickly, while if you are more flexible, you need to think about which items in your home are most essential for family members to be able to continue their daily lives as smoothly as possible after an unexpected event. “The more expensive the interests or hobbies a person has, the more carefully they should calculate the sum insured for their property. Expensive sports gear, musical instruments and equipment, paintings, valuables, watches and jewellery, as well as robotic lawn mowers or building materials – such items may not be reimbursed in sufficient value if you have chosen standard limits, but the property is actually much more expensive than the average,” says Kristel Kobi, adding that such items have a standard reimbursement limit, which is worth reviewing and, if necessary, increasing.
It is important to remember that cash is not insured and its proper place is still in the bank.
When insuring your property, do not forget liability insurance, which compensates for damage caused to other parties. The higher the floor, the higher the amount of liability insurance should be. “The most common type of damage is water damage, and as water always flows downwards, the damage is always to the apartments on the lower floors. Water damage can affect several floors of apartments and, in addition to the interiors, their appliances, furniture and artwork can also be damaged,” Kobi adds.